Blackstaff Press, 2004
128 pp, illustrated paperback
Retail price £9.99
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Review by Deborah Fisher
In Northern Ireland, where she lives, Jenny Bristow is a familiar face to viewers of Ulster Television, having
demonstrated her culinary skills in several popular television series. To enjoy
lasting success as a television chef demands a pragmatic approach to cookery, and that is what we get from this book.
Previous collections of Jenny Bristow’s recipes have sold well, and in 2001
she won an award for one of the best seven English-language cookery books (Why seven? Don’t ask me!) in the Gourmand World Cookery Awards. Jenny Bristow Cooks for the Seasons: Autumn and Winter was previously
reviewed on this site by Barbara Osborne, and now we have a successor, Jenny Bristow
Light: Taste the Good Life, which lives up to the high expectations set by that volume.
As the title suggests, Jenny Bristow Light
contains recipes for meals designed to curb the excesses of the pre-Christmas period, and is just what I needed to help me
implement some of my new year’s resolutions for 2005. The dishes presented
here in appealing colour photographs may contain ingredients that class as “healthy” – lentils, pine nuts,
and so forth – but that does not prevent them from looking and sounding delicious even to those not accustomed to a
vegetarian diet. I immediately fancied the toasted muffins with caramelised banana
and coconut (probably not all that healthy, since it contains sugar, but banana is one of the most popular fruits on the planet,
and we all need our regular helpings of fruit and vegetables, in whatever form we can tolerate). Each page contains additional information about the nutritional value of the dishes. I would have liked to see a calorie count; but the purpose of this collection is not to make people thinner,
but to make them become healthier whilst continuing to enjoy their food.
The book is divided into sections for different types of dish: soups, snacks, and
so on. Every recipe is clearly laid out and easy to read and understand. Each one is accompanied by a photograph of what it should look like. The author can’t spell “barbecue”,
but she is not alone in that. The recipes are simple, and few have more than
ten ingredients, with many having only half a dozen. Perhaps some of the ingredients
are a little exotic: such items as pak choi and lemon grass are not always easy to come by.
However, these are few and far between, and most of the recipes call for nothing you are not likely to have handy in
the pantry. And on the presentational side, the book’s cover has handy
flaps for keeping your page.
All in all, this is one of those few cookery books I’m actually likely to
pick up and use in the course of the year. Thanks, Blackstaff, for my review